Libya's El Sharara Oilfield Restart Another Breakthrough For Tripoli

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Libya's oil sector takes another big step back to normality with the restart of an oilfield that could double its current meager crude output, a week after blockades ended at major ports.


TRIPOLI, July 8 (Reuters) - Libya's oil sector took another big step back to normality with the restarting of an oilfield that could double its current meagre crude output, a week after blockades ended at major ports.

The 340,000 barrels per day El Sharara oilfield has resumed operations after protesters ended a four month strike, state-run National Oil Corp (NOC) said on Tuesday,

The field is in Libya's remote southwest and its connecting pipelines have been blocked several times since the autumn by protesters making financial and political demands, part of nationwide blockades of fields and oil ports.

Last week, eastern rebels handed over to the government the Ras Lanuf and Es Sider oil ports, ending an almost year-long occupation. Both terminals had accounted for 500,000 bpd.

Experts say, however, it will take time to restart production as fields and pipelines will require maintenance after standing idle so long.

Still, the restart of El Sharara and the two eastern ports give hope to the weak central government to restore vital oil production and revenue to help fight a worsening budget crisis.

Output was 327,000 bpd on Tuesday, NOC said, a fraction of the 1.4 million barrels a day the OPEC member used to pump last summer when the protests started.


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